In Eleanor Nordyke and Y. Scott Matsumoto’s article, “The Japanese in Hawaii: A Historical and Demographic Perspective,” they explain that the growth of the sugar industry resulted in an increased demand for cheap labor (pg. 162-63). However, Western recruitment of Japanese contract laborers was not permitted until 1868, when Eugene Van Reed, “the Hawaiian consul general in Yokohama, solicited the first group of 148 Japanese immigrants (140 men, six women, and two children).” Id. at 163. This group was known as the Gannen Mono, the “First-Year People.” Id. Shortly thereafter, complaints were received alleging that the workers’ contracts had been violated, and that they had been subject to abuse and poor treatment.
Against this backdrop, a treaty between Hawaiʻi and Japan commenced. Negotiations took quite some time, but it was finally concluded on August 19, 1871. The introductory paragraph contained in the 1871 Treaty between Japan and Hawaiʻi states as follows: “WHEREAS, a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between His Majesty the King, and His Imperial Majesty the Tenno of Japan, was concluded at Yeddo, on the 19th day of August, 1871, which has been ratified by His Majesty the King, and His Imperial Majesty, the Tenno of Japan, and the ratifications duly exchanged . . . .”
Below are a few images related to the correspondence leading up to the conclusion of this treaty, including an envelope and seal addressed to “His Excellency John M. Kapena, His Hawaiian Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affair[s].”
A treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States was concluded and signed by their Plenipotentiaries on December 20, 1849. The treaty was ratified on August 19, 1850, by his majesty Kauikeaouli, the Premier, Keoni Ana, and the Minister of Foreign Relations, R.C. Wyllie. Below is a snippet from the Hawaiian language version of the ratification:
King Kalākaua along with his plenipotentiaries Elisha H. Allen and Henry A. P. Carter, visited Washington and successfully concluded negotiations to enter into a Convention with the United States on January 30, 1875. In sum, it established close economic and political relations between the two nations, “allowing certain products, including sugar, to be imported into the United States without a tariff and prohibiting the kingdom from allowing another nation similar privileges or any lease to Hawaiian harbors and ports.” See Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, Historical Background, in Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise at n. 152 (Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie et al. eds., 2015).
The convention was set to take effect once duly ratified by both governments, and after it obtained Congressional approval. See Convention Between the United States and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, 19 Stat. 625 (1875) (image below).
The enabling act for the treaty went into effect, and was signed by President Grant on August 15, 1876 (image below). Thus, it took a full year for the Reciprocity Treaty to go into effect.
On July 22, 1863, the King of Italy and the King of Hawaiʻi entered into a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation. Below are the signatures and seals of the Plenipotentiaries for Hawaiʻi and Italy. An English transcription follows.
On July 20, 1864, the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi entered into a treaty of friendship and commerce with the Swiss Confederation. Below are two pages from the treaty. A transcription for the French column is provided below by Brittanie Nery:
et de commerce
Sa majesté le Roi Hawaiien
la Confédération Suisse.
Sa majesté le Roi Hawaiien
la Confédération Suisse
En foi de quoi
les plénipotentiaires respectifs
ont signé le Traité et y ont
apposé leurs sceaux
Ainsi fais par duplicata
à Berne le vingtième jour
de juillet mille huit cent
Le Plénipotentiaire Hawaiien:
/s/ JOHN BOWRING
Le Plénipotentiaire Suisse:
/s/ Col. F. FREY FLEROSEE
In July of 1839, Captain Laplace of the French frigate L’Artémise, arrived in the islands under orders to put an end to the persecution of Catholics in the Hawaiian Kingdom. King Kauikeaouli issued the Edict of Toleration on July 17, 1839, and paid $20,000 as a guarantee of “his future conduct towards France.” Additionally, the treaty ensured the release of all imprisoned Catholics, and established the creation of a site for a Catholic Church. The church was required to be located in a port frequented by the French, and ministered by a French priest.
Below are excerpts from the 1839 treaty between the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and France. A transcription of the Hawaiian language follows.